• ICV help SMEs

The Singapore government has introduced Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) under SPRING Singapore scheme to facilitate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in boosting productivity and enhancing their capabilities. By using an ICV, SMEs can appoint consultants or implement solutions for their businesses.

What is the Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV)?

ICV is a voucher worth $5,000, a simple and direct grant under SPRING Singapore. SMEs can use the ICV to implement solutions under these specific supportable cost categories

  1. Equipment & hardware
  2. Technical solutions
  3. Professional services
  4. Design& renovation.

The rationale of ICV

The main goal of this grant is to encourage SMEs to enhance their capabilities in areas of productivity such as technology innovation services, technical feasibility studies, technical support and knowledge development, human resources, and financial management.

Another great tip for SMEs that wish to upgrade their capabilities further in any of these areas may tap on the Capability Development Grant.

ICV can also help SMEs where consultancy projects are concerned. Each SME can attain up to a maximum of eight vouchers, but an SME may only apply for two vouchers per capability areas for consultancy services in the ICV scheme. Also, each project has to be finished before a new application is considered. Each project must also be completed within six months.

Who is eligible for ICV?

All SMEs in Singapore are eligible to apply for this grant if they are physically present and registered in Singapore, have at least 30% local shareholding, and make annual sales of not more than $100 million or do not apply more than 200 employees. You can apply online via the ICV Online Portal.

Where previously ICV was restricted only to consultancy services, an enhanced ICV was announced by the Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Teo Ser Luck, at the Alexandra Village as part of the outreach efforts under the SME Workgroup. This is effective from 1 March 2014, and also supports the implementation of solutions in the four capability areas of innovation, productivity, human resources development, and financial management.

As claimed by Luck, ‘We have been actively engaging the SMEs through different platforms, including the SME Workgroup outreach sessions. Expanding the scope of the ICV is a response to their feedback and will help SMEs, especially heartland businesses, further their productivity improvements. SMEs are encouraged to leverage this enhanced ICV to continue to enhance and transform their businesses.’

The reason why the Singaporean government decided to move from the regular ICV to an enhanced version is that it was found through feedback by the SME Workgroup that small and medium enterprises do not necessarily require consultancy services to diagnose a problem or propose solutions. They can go directly to implementing solutions and meeting their business challenges so as long as the resource constraints are minimized. This can be done through capability upgrading.

The enhanced ICV covers both implementations of recommendations from business consultations as well as the direct implementation of solutions in the specified four areas. The ultimate aim of the enhanced ICV is to raise productivity and efficiency, better manage costs, and strengthen the business operations of the small and medium enterprises to achieve sustainable growth.

An example of an SME that has reaped the benefits that ICV has to offer is Skylace Language School. It employs 14 teachers and offers Chinese enrichment classes for children and training services for teachers through operating in five enrichment centers. An ICV (Productivity) project helped Skylace conduct an overall business diagnosis on its management and key business operations. It then identified areas for improvement, which ranged from improving its retention strategy, better management of data for greater competitiveness in the market, and streamlining its processes. The second part dealt with implementing these proposed solutions. This could be done with software programs and creating a centralized database. This would not only streamline existing processes but manage information and market the school more easily.

How to claim an ICV?

  1. Select a specific type of service out of the four main areas of development.For example, if you want to improve your company’s human resources, you could use this voucher to pay for services that deal with performance management, career development, manpower planning, compensation & benefits, or with learning & development. Also, for all the other 3 main areas available, there will be multiple niches available from which you can choose. Make sure to check with the official list before you decide and to choose that niche that will benefit your company the most.
  2. Decide your service provider.Do bear in mind that you can use this voucher with a limited list of service providing companies that have accepted working with the Singaporean government in this program.
  3. Send the online application.Most usually applicants receive a response between 2 and 5 days from the moment they apply for the voucher and the notification will be received by email only by those who are successful. Also, you should know that at the end of the project, both you and your service provider will have to submit an official project report that will show how the voucher was used and how the service offered helped your company grow stronger.

How can ICV help SMEs FAQs

How many ICV vouchers a qualified SMEs can use?2020-11-26T10:56:57+08:00

A qualified SMEs can use up to eight (8) ICV vouchers. 

How long does it take for SPRING Singapore to review and process my ICV grant application?2020-11-26T10:58:07+08:00

Once you submit all the required documentations, SPRING Singapore will review and process all applications for an ICV grant in six to eight weeks

Which are the Main Eligibility Criteria for ICV?2020-06-23T14:45:30+08:00

First of all, you should know that your company should be a small or medium enterprise in order to be eligible for this voucher. Also, you should know the fact that the voucher has to be used in one of the 4 areas of development established by the Singaporean government: innovation, financial management, productivity or human resources.

Also, you should know that you have to be physically present in Singapore and that your company should be registered there. Furthermore, you should have a minimum of 30% local shareholding and your group annual sales should not be of more than S$100,000 (or you should not have more than 200 employees)

What is ICV?2020-11-26T10:57:24+08:00

ICV is the abbreviation from “Innovation and Capability Voucher” and it is one of the many funding opportunities you can take advantage of in Singapore. What this voucher will do for you is offering you S$5,000 to invest in your company as long as this investment is made under certain circumstances. 

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